Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Blog

  • State Treasurers: Empowering Americans to Make Smart Financial Decisions

    Last week, the White House convened a Summit on Financial Capability and Empowerment to draw attention to the importance of financial education for all Americans.  Maryland State Treasurer Nancy Kopp, who sits on her state’s Coalition for Financial Literacy, moderated a panel that highlighted the work of community leaders.  Treasurer Kopp noted after the summit that, “schools, financial institutions and community groups all have the responsibility to improve financial literacy not only among our children but also families engaged in family budgeting, college savings and retirement.  Awareness certainly is important, but so are practical ways to ensure a stable financial foundation for all American families."

    Treasurer Kopp isn’t alone in this effort.  Rhode Island State Treasurer Gina Raimondo recently visited North Providence High School to mark the expansion of EverFi, Rhode Island’s web-based financial literacy program.  EverFi is used in 19 Rhode Island high schools and will soon spread to another 25 campuses.  This program is helping people build a sound economic foundation at an early age.   "Financial empowerment remains one of my top priorities and is critical to the preparedness and success of Rhode Island's high school students," Raimondo said

    Under Delaware State Treasurer Chip Flowers’ leadership, Delaware has created an Economic Index, which summarizes key state and national economic data in a clear and coherent way so that Delawareans can better understand their state’s finances.  Flowers’ office also issues a monthly Prosperity Portal which provides financial education resources for everyone from young adults and families to small businesses.  Attending college, caring for the elderly, getting married, and so many other key life moments can bring on great financial challenges.  That’s why Flowers’ office, like so many others, provides these types of helpful resources. 

  • Iowa State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald: Let’s Invest in Our Youth- Don’t Double Their Rates

    If Congress doesn’t act by July 1st, interest rates on federal subsidized loans will double and the average student will accumulate an additional $1,000 in debt.  We’re pleased that despite failing to address it in their budget, Republicans in Congress now profess to be concerned about this coming rate hike. But now it’s time for them to stop refighting old political battles and prove they’re serious by proposing a real solution to keep rates low for students without burdening middle class families or undercutting preventive health care for women.  Higher education can’t be a luxury for just a few, it’s an economic imperative which leads to better jobs and a strong middle class. 

    Iowa State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald, who oversees his state’s important College Savings program, understands that students need help now more than ever.  That’s why he spoke out in a recent letter to the editor published in the Oskaloosa News and the Newton Independent.  Treasurer Fitzgerald wrote:

    I recently had the opportunity to visit with President Obama when he was in Iowa over concerns with the potential interest rate hike for student loans.  It became apparent as I was listening to him that the President and I share one very strong belief.  We need to help young people and their families make college affordable. 

  • President Obama Joins Elected Officials and Student Leaders to Urge #DontDoubleMyRate

    This afternoon, President Obama joined elected officials and student leaders from colleges and universities across the country on a phone call to discuss the effort to prevent interest rates on more than 7 million students’ loans from doubling on July 1, unless Congress takes action.

    During the call, mayors, governors and other officials were joined in their offices by local students to hear the President’s message and they tweeted out messages to echo his call to keep college affordable for all Americans. You can see photos from those on the call below or at Storify.com.

    Learn more about the President’s efforts here and join in the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #DontDoubleMyRate.

  • Director Richard Cordray Invites Local Leaders to Partner with CFPB in Protecting Consumers

    On Tuesday, I joined Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray and state and local officials from across the country for a Local Leaders Call to discuss how the CFPB is working to protect consumers and make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans.

    Director Cordray, who previously served as Franklin County Ohio Treasurer, Ohio State Representative, Ohio State Treasurer and Ohio State Attorney General, spoke about his experiences as a state and local official and the importance of the CFPB partnering with local enforcement organizations to prevent predatory lenders from taking advantage of the American people.

    He also discussed the Bureau’s work to protect students and veterans and highlighted the Executive Order that President Obama signed on Friday to crack down on bad actors who prey on veterans and servicemembers considering higher education.

    You can find out more about the CFPB at www.consumerfinance.gov or by following the agency on Twitter at @CFPB.

    David Agnew is Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Deputy Assistant to the President

  • Georgia State Representative Scott Holcomb: Serving Those Who Serve Us

    Last week, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama visited Fort Stewart in Georgia where the President signed an Executive Order to help ensure all of America’s service members, veterans, spouses, and other family members have the information they need to make informed educational decisions and are protected from aggressive and deceptive targeting by educational institutions.

    Georgia State Representative Scott Holcomb, who served at Fort Stewart, reflects on the President’s commitment to veterans:

    Just before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, I received an email from my father.  A combat veteran from Vietnam, my father was a quiet man who did not write much, but what he did write was important.  It was, “Look after your fellow soldiers and you’ll be ok.” 
     
    Looking out for each other is a core value for those who serve, and the President and First Lady understand this.  I had the honor of meeting with the President and First Lady during their visit with the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart and time and time again they said to the soldiers, veterans, and their families: “we’ve got your backs.”

  • Nevada State Treasurer Kate Marshall: The Buffett Rule is a Step in the Right Direction

    America is facing a make or break moment for the middle class.  President Obama strongly believes in building an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules.  This core belief is why the President proposed the Buffett Rule which advances the basic notion that those making more than $1 million per year, should pay at least the same percentage of their income in taxes as middle class families. 

    Unfortunately, just last week, Senate Republicans blocked this common sense proposal despite the fact that Americans of all backgrounds support this plan.  One proponent with a unique perspective is Nevada State Treasurer Kate Marshall, who had this to say in the Reno Gazette Journal:

    This piece of legislation was meant to even the playing field and have everyone pay their fair share. Simply put: "If you make more than $1 million a year, you should pay at least the same percentage of taxes on your income as middle class families do"…